We know that college decisions can be exciting and scary all at the same time, so we’ve gathered the top 10 tips for choosing the right college for you. If you have already chosen your college, these may remind you of all the things that you did or did not do when making your decision — we hope they also bring a smile to your face by pointing out everything your college has to offer. Whether or not you have chosen a college yet, it is best practice to take some time to read the advice below and use it as a guide to match you with the right college and confirm your decision in the years to come.
1. Visit the college. Get a sense of the school and how it makes you feel as you walk around the campus.
2. Talk to people on campus. Ensure that the people there are the type of people you want to be around on a daily basis. Consider asking 10 people on campus a few questions: “What do you love most about this school?” “What do you like least about the school?”
3. Verify that your major is available, and choose a back-up option, too. Please check to make sure that your major is available. It is a good idea to create at least one back-up plan for another major at the college that also interests you.
4. Spend a night or two on campus. First impressions are great, but extending your stay at the campus is even better. See if the recruitment office has a program that allows you to stay overnight to get a better feel for things.
5. Explore extracurricular activities. Walk around the campus and figure out if there are extracurricular activities that interest you, such as clubs, workout facilities, intermural sports, sporting events, connections to community events, and internships.
6. Decide on your own. Make your choice independently, without the opinions of your friends or your significant other. Strong relationships will last the distance!
7. Add up the financial aspects. Does the school make financial sense to attend? The possibility of graduating with $100,000 in student loan debt when you could have attended another school for much less is important to consider.
8. Consider your trips home. How often will you go home to visit your family or friends? Take into account the travel time and costs you will incur by doing so.
9. Research the availability of student supports. Find out which academic and personal supports are offered on campus. Does the school offer counseling, tutoring, or accommodations for special conditions? If so, what do those supports entail?
10. Check the weather. If you don’t like the cold, don’t consider colleges in a region of the country that has long winters with lots of snow. Make sure the weather where your college is located aligns with your preferences.
This advice will help you begin to take inventory of the schools on your list and start narrowing down your options. Make sure to be honest with yourself during this process and recognize what really matters to you! After you decide on a school, take the opportunity each year to revisit these top 10 tips for choosing the right college as a way to check yourself and validate your decision.